14 Day Antarctic Peninsula and Crossing The Circle with Quark Expeditions on Valentine’s Day
Zodiac excursions – Hiking on Snow – Whales – Penguins & Seals – Undisturbed Icebergs and Sea Ice – Midnight Sun – Antarctic Circle
A trip to the last frontier in polar expeditions to cross what very few people will ever see in their lives: The Antarctic Circle. This geographical point takes us to untouched parts of Antarctica that see very few visitors well into the whale season. We will toast to the crossing, indulge in the rays of the Midnight Sun as we spot penguins, seals and whales breaching, and explore virgin icebergs and glaciers on a refurbished classic expedition ship.
Highlights: 7 days on Antarctica | Zodiac excursions | Hiking on untouched ice | Polar plunge | Penguins, seals & whales | Midnight Sun | Pristine icebergs & glaciers | Arctic Circle crossing | Classic value ship
No single supplements* | Photo journal | Classic refurbished ship & cabins
Departure dates: 14 to 27 Feb, 2023
Maximum number of passengers: 189
Exclusive: Preferential rates + $150 onboard credit
*Prices per person, we pair you with another solo traveler
Day 1 – Arrival in Ushuaia
Day 2 – Embarkation
Day 3 & 4 – Drake Passage
Day 5 to 7 – Shore excursions Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands
Day 8 & 9 – Crossing the Antarctic Circle
Day 10 & 11 – Along the Antarctic Peninsula
Day 12 & 13 – Drake Passage
Day 14 – Disembarkation
What we will see &
🌅 Midnight Sun
❄️ Large icebergs, glaciers & untouched sea ice
🦭 Seals basking in the sun
🐋 Whales breaching
🐧 Penguins feeding their chicks
✅ Crossing the Antarctic Circle
Expedition ship: Ocean Diamond
We have selected this particular departure from Quark Expeditions because it is on the more affordable, spacious and classic Ocean Diamond ship allowing for an extended trip great value for money.
Ocean Diamond is an older but recently refurbished small expedition ship that incorporates very spacious rooms, all of which are exterior, and modern facilities. It is also one of the fastest and most stable ships cruising Antarctic waters making it an ideal vessel for this extended trip.
- Number of passengers: 189
- Crew: 144
- Length: 124 meter
Recently refurbished with the environment in mind.
- Outdoor dining (weather permitting)
- Observation deck
- Large sun deck
- The Club all-day cafe and bar
Ocean Diamond has plenty of common areas to share a drink with your fellow solo female travelers or watch the world go by.
The restaurant where all meals are taken can accommodate all passengers at once.
You can relax and take in all the landscapes around the ship from the warmth of the Observation deck.
The Club cafe – bar
The place to read a book, relax, grab a coffee or a drink.
The perfect pace to enjoy the views and the fresh air of Antarctica.
A program of lectures and presentations on Antarctica will be offered throughout the trip at the theatre.
Forgot something? Or maybe want to buy a souvenir for friends and family back home? The Polar Boutique has you covered.
Day 1 : Arrival in Ushuaia
You will begin your journey in Ushuaia, a small but bustling port town at the tip of South America.
This Argentine town is an ideal gateway for you to explore the southern extent of Patagonia while preparing for your adventure ahead. Get active in the mountains or enjoy handcrafted chocolate at a café in town. We do encourage you to arrive a day or two before your expedition.
Based on the arrival information you send us, Quark will arrange for a transfer from the airport to your hotel.
Inclusions: Airport pick up. Overnight at pre-expedition hotel.
Day 2 : Embarkation
Embarkation will occur in the late afternoon, usually around 4pm, after which your vessel will sail down the historic Beagle Channel, which transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the extreme south of South America.
On the morning of Day 2, your luggage will be collected from the lobby of your hotel, transferred to the ship and stored in your cabin. You and your shipmates will meet at a designated location near the pier, and board the waiting buses for transfer to the ship.
Information about embarkation will be posted in your Ushuaia hotel and discussed during your optional pre-departure meeting on Day 1.
Expect an air of anticipation as you depart, the next time you see land, you’ll be in the world’s most southern continent!
Inclusions: Dinner onboard, transportation to the ship from pre-expedition hotel.
Days 3 & 4: Drake Passage
Your days at sea are filled with presentations led by the Expedition Team who will prepare you for the wildlife, glaciology and history that will greet you upon your arrival. In between presentations, spend time on deck looking for wildlife or chatting with your shipmates over a drink at the bar.
Crossing the Drake Passage is a unique experience and whether we enjoy a Drake Lake (quiet waters) or a Drake Shake (rough seas) it will be a great time to get mentally ready for the trip. On the left you can see Meg’s experience at the Drake Passage from her trip to Antarctica.
Inclusions: All meals and drinks. Afternoon tea and snacks during cocktail hour, wine at dinner. Lectures and presentations.
Day 5 to 7 : Antarctica Peninsula & South Shetland Islands
The most common reaction upon reaching the White Continent is a sense of reverence and awe. The experience is beyond words, since few places are as untouched and enduring as Antarctica.
You will begin to appreciate why this region has long captivated the attention of explorers and travelers alike. Every time we visit Antarctica, we witness something new or unexpected, which means that your expedition will be unlike any other – creating a unique, personal experience.
Amid the serene silence of Antarctica, noisy interludes become indelible memories, such as penguins squabbling over prized pebbles, or the boom and crack of a calving glacier.
Keep an eye out for Weddell, fur, crabeater and leopard seals as well as curious whales, such as humpbacks, minkes, or perhaps orcas while on a Zodiac cruise. Each excursion will present a new collection of creatures to delight you and keep your camera busy.
Each day you will take Zodiac excursions from the ship to explore local bays, channels and landing sites. Your Expedition Team will take care of you at each landing, whether you are hiking the Antarctic landscape, visiting a research station or consorting with chinstrap, Adélie and gentoo penguins, all of which can be found here or elephant seals (like the one on the video on the right). These are the included activities.
There are nearly 200 recognised sites in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetlands and the places mentioned above may be changed to others equally as interesting.
Hiking in Antarctica is free-form and supervised by our expert staff, who will set out a perimeter or paths at each landing site within which you are free to explore. While you hike, staff will be available to enhance your experience by answering questions about the wildlife, history and geography of the area. Walking poles are provided at each landing for your convenience. As there are a limited number of poles available, please bring your own if you require them on every landing. Some landing sites will offer more demanding terrain options than others.
This rite of passage, scheduled only once per expedition, gives you the chance to jump safely into the bracing Antarctic waters under the watchful eye of our staff, and just about every single camera on board!
Zodiacs are the workhorses of polar expeditions, taking you to places the ships can’t access, allowing you to reach remote shorelines, explore shallow inlets and search for unique wildlife. Expedition staff make stepping in and out of them safe and comfortable, and your Zodiac drivers will provide active interpretation, making the landscape come even more alive.
Inclusions: All meals and drinks. Afternoon tea and snacks during cocktail hour, wine at dinner. Lectures and presentations. Excursions on land with guided tours and time to get up and close with penguin and albatross colonies and learn more about the island’s whaling past.
Optional activities (must be pre-booked, based on availability – very few spots available)
Sea kayaking program, with various outings as
an alternative to shore landings or Zodiac cruises.
Paddle excursions, for those keen to go out kayaking once. Less physical exercise than the sea kayaking option.
Days 8 & 9 : Crossing the Antarctic Circle
Crossing the Antarctic Circle is both a memorable experience and impressive achievement, as few travelers reach so far south.
If conditions allow us to cross this famed latitude of 66°33´ S, we’ll toast the first explorers who ventured here, and you can raise a glass and take pride in knowing you’ve made it to a part of the world visited by very few people.
This is raw Antarctica, home of the midnight sun, Weddell seals, and your best chances of encountering sea ice – the foundation of the Antarctic marine ecosystem.
Inclusions: All meals and drinks, afternoon tea and cocktail hour (weather permitting), toast to the crossing. All presentations and lectures. Overnight in your cabin.
Days 10 & 11 : Along the Antarctic Peninsula
By now your knowledge of Adélie, chinstrap and gentoo penguins will be matched by your ability to differentiate between a leopard, crabeater and Weddell seal.
Terms like ‘bergy bits’ and ‘pancake ice’ will become part of your vocabulary, yet there are still many tales to be told.
As you head north, Zodiac excursions will fill your days, and your Expedition Team will continue looking out for species of seabirds, seals and whales that may have eluded you on your journey south.
Inclusions: Shore landings, zodiac excursions, polar plunge, presentations and lectures onboard. All meals, drinks, afternoon tea and cocktail hour. Overnight in your cabin.
Days 12 & 13 : Drake Passage
The journey back across the Drake Passage provides final opportunities to enjoy the crisp Antarctic air.
After more than a dozen days of unique wildlife encounters and remarkable landscapes, your journey home begins. Crossing the Drake is your unofficial rite of passage.
Spend time on deck watching for seabirds and whales, enjoy presentations by your Expedition Team, or simply relax and reminisce about your experiences.
Inclusions: Breakfast, lunch and dinner onboard, lectures and presentations in the theatre. Overnight in your chosen cabin.
Day 14 : Disembark in Ushuaia
You will arrive in Ushuaia in the morning, which allows for you to continue your adventure onward or catch your flights home.
Your ship is scheduled to arrive at the pier in Ushuaia, usually between 7am and 8am. Once the ship has docked, you will bid farewell to your Expedition Team and shipmates before completing your disembarkation. The process takes about an hour.
Weather conditions can always change arrival times, and airline schedule changes have also been known to occur in Argentina.
Please book your flight home from Ushuaia to depart as late in the day as possible or at a date after the end of your expedition. If you have booked a flight that departs before 12pm on the date that your expedition ends, you will be at risk of missing your flight.
Quark Expeditions staff in Ushuaia will reconfirm your domestic flight 48 hours prior to disembarkation, provided you give your information to our team ahead of time.
Inclusions: Breakfast onboard. Transfer to the airport or luggage storage facility which opens until 6pm. You will need to arrange your own transfer to the airport if you do not take advantage of the included transfer or if you are leaving Ushuaia after the disembarkation day.
Why Quark Expeditions
There are many companies selling trips to Antarctica but we wanted to choose the right one, the one which aligned with our values. After researching all the small ship companies and speaking to several, we chose Quark Expeditions, here’s why:
- Polar expert – 30 years of experience in polar regions with unrivalled local knowledge and connections.
- Quark Academy – Proprietary training center unique in the industry. High standards of customer service and expert Expedition Leaders. Ratio of 2-to-1, crew to passengers.
- Sustainable and responsible travel to Antarctica – Serious commitment to conservation and the environment with carbon neutral ships, no single-use plastic and a goal towards zero-waste travel. Long-term member of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators. $500,000 annual donation towards research and conservation programs.
- Own fleet – In-house designed, owned and operated fleet of small expedition ships with less than 175 guests. Having full control of the experience and of the environmental impact.
- Female powered – Several female Expedition Leaders, biologists, conservationists and lecturers.
Ocean Diamond can accommodate 189 passengers when full in a range of 8 cabins suited to all budgets, including solo travelers.
The unique feature of this small expedition ship is the fact that all cabins have external views and that some have been specifically designed for solo travelers.
All prices listed below are per person sharing except for the Single cabins. If you are traveling solo and wish to share, book a Triple or Twin cabin and Quark Expeditions will pair you will another female traveler to ensure no single supplements. Higher category suites need to be booked for 2 guests.
All cabins have at least 1 private bathroom with shower, a refrigerator, TV, and DVD player.
Prices quoted below are for full payment within 30 days from confirmation. Payment plans are available at an additional cost, inquire at the time of booking.
Below pricing is in USD.
3 passengers | 200 sqf.
Triple cabins have two twin beds and an upper bed, and two portholes.
Porthole covers may be closed during sea days or during inclement weather as a safety precaution.
Why pick this cabin
- Affordable sharing cabin
$9,121 per person sharing
Twin Obstructed view
2 passengers | 200 sqf.
Twin obstructed view cabins have one double bed or two twin beds, and a picture window (the view is obstructed).
Why pick this cabin
- Share with only 1 other passenger
- Sunlight but restricted view
$12,542 per person sharing
2 passengers | 183-200 sqf.
Twin porthole cabins have one double bed or two twin beds, and a picture window.
Why pick this cabin
- Share with only 1 other passenger
- Unrestricted outside view
$13,307 per person sharing
Single obstructed view
1 Passenger | 200 sqf.
Single cabins have one double bed, and a picture window (the view is obstructed by the lifeboats).
$15,220 per person
1 Passenger | 200 sqf.
Single cabins have one double bed and two portholes. Porthole covers may be closed during sea days or during inclement weather as a safety precaution.
$16,065 per person
2 Passengers | 400 sqf.
400 sq. ft. (37 sq. m) in size, these suites have one double bed or two twin beds, and two picture windows.
These suites have two private bathrooms, and a separate sitting area with a sofa, chair, and small table. Two refrigerators, TVs, and DVD players are included in each cabin.
Note: This cabin needs to be booked by 2 guests at the same time.
$14,837 per person
Payment Plan: Prices quoted above are for full payment within 30 days from confirmation. Payment plans are available at an additional cost, inquire at the time of booking. By joining our trips you agree to our T&C.
There are no hidden charges on our trips and this is why everything is clearly detailed. Our Antarctica expeditions will be fully inclusive except for some meals and adventures that are optional.
✔️ Group transportation from airport to pre-expedition hotel in Ushuaia if arriving on Day 1, transportation from the hotel to the ship on Day 2 and from the ship to the airport or luggage storage facility on Day 14
✔️ 12 nights on the ship and 1 night in a Hotel in Ushuaia. Daily housekeeping. Hair dryer and bathrobes in every cabin
✔️ All meals, snacks, soft drinks and juices on board throughout your voyage. Breakfast at the hotel in Ushuaia
✔️ Select beer and wine during dinner; coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock
✔️ Leadership throughout the voyage by our experienced Expedition Leader, including shore landings and other activities
✔️ All Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program. All shore landings as per the daily program. One polar plunge per trip
✔️ Formal and informal presentations by our Expedition Team and guest speakers as scheduled
✔️ A photographic journal documenting the expedition
✔️ A pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan for landings and Zodiac cruising excursions and an official Quark Expeditions® parka to keep warm
✔️ All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program
✔️ All luggage handling aboard the ship
✔️ Emergency Evacuation insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of USD $500,000 per person
✘ Optional activities not included in the program. For example, kayaking, paddling, etc.
✘ Other meals than those stated in the itinerary. For example, if arriving earlier or staying later in Ushuaia
✘ Visa, if required, and airfare
✘ Travel & Medical Insurance (Required)
✘ Tips for the team. At your discretion, recommended $10-20 per day per guest anonymously given and shared among all the crew.
✘ Departure COVID Testing
✘ Waterproof trousers for zodiac excursions (Required) or other gear not mentioned in the inclusions
✘ Laundry, bar, massage services and other personal charges, unless specified
✘ Phone and Internet charges. WIFI is available for purchase onboard but bandwidth is low and speeds cannot be guaranteed
Why book with us
You can book your trip to Antarctica via many providers, travel agents or even directly with Quark Expeditions or any other small expedition company. Below are 5 reasons why you should book with us:
- Exclusive rates: All members who quote Solo Female Travelers at the time of booking will enjoy preferential rates as quoted above which are lower than prevailing market rates by between 5% and 10% depending on the trip and departure.
- Onboard credit: Solo Female Travelers will receive $150 onboard credit per passenger to be used at the spa, on drinks, internet or for souvenirs.
- Be paired with another solo female traveler. While we cannot ensure that everyone booking with us will be paired with another member of our community (you could be paired with a non-member female traveler), the vast majority will. This means your cabin mate will be someone with your same passion for solo and independent travel and will have lots of experiences to share.
- Access to exclusive talks pre-trip. Quark’s female Expedition Leaders will join us live in the group to share their experiences, help answer any question or even help you choose among the 3 trips! These talks will be exclusive to our community and you will be able to rewatch them anytime even if you join any other Quark departure.
- Benefits even if you don’t join our trips. Not ready to join our listed trips? Looking to go on a different expedition offered by Quark? Quote Solo Female Travelers at the time of booking and get $100 free onboard credit to use. Your friends and family will get the credit too if they use the same link.
Compare with our other Antarctica expeditions
While we don’t have a maximum number of spots on this trip, there is limited availability per cabin category, especially for triple cabins, so don’t wait to book to avoid disappointment if your chosen class of travel is not available.
Got questions? Ready to book? Let’s chat!
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or pick a convenient time and date on the right to talk to us, we’d love to meet you!
Frequently Asked Questions
This is a trip of a lifetime and we know there are many things you’d like to know more about.
This trip will follow Quark Expeditions S.A.F.E. COVID Policy. A key feature of this industry-leading COVID policy is the adoption of breakthrough rapid onsite PCR testing, which is recognised around the world as the gold standard of COVID testing.
This efficient and quick test, plus additional pre-trip screening and onboard precautions that are part of Quark’s S.A.F.E. COVID Policy, will enable adventurers to safely explore the wonders of the Antarctic. S.A.F.E. represents the company’s four-component approach that ensures passengers’ health and financial investment are protected in every way before and during their polar expedition:
– State-of-the-art Testing Protocols: every guest gets the breakthrough rapid onsite PCR test before boarding the ship and receives test results within 60 minutes.
– Anytime Cancellation & Rebooking: guests can rebook their trip for any reason up to 30 days prior to the voyage. No questions asked! (For Arctic 2021 and Antarctica 2021/2022 – all existing and new bookings made by June 30, 2021. For Arctic 2022 – All new bookings made as of May 1, 2021 through June 30, 2021).
– Free from crowds: Visitors to the Polar Regions will enjoy a naturally socially-distanced expedition in remote, wide-open spaces that are always crowd-free.
– Experience will not be compromised! Quark Expeditions is known for offering guests extraordinary off-ship excursions. Guests will continue to have every opportunity to experience the glaciers, fjords, and wildlife from their Zodiacs and during on-shore excursions.
All details of Quark’s COVID policies and procedures can be found here.
This and most trips to Antarctica cross the Drake Passage, one of the roughest and most dramatic sea crossings in the world with waves that can be as high as 13 meters. Unless you book one of the fly-in and fly-out expeditions, the Drake Passage is unavoidable and takes up to 4 days out of your Antarctica cruising (2 there, and 2 back).
Every crossing is different and you may enjoy quiet seas, or see the full force of nature, and have to retire to your cabin to lay in bed and wait for it to pass. Either way, crossing the Drake is safe and Quark Expeditions has never had any incident. For the more adventurous, nothing beats seeing the massive waves hit the ship. And if you are lucky, you may see the Drake Lake, when waters a quiet and there is nothing to worry about.
Either way, we recommend being prepared and talking to your doctor before the trip to take the necessary precautions and seasickness medication. For more details, read this.
It is your responsibility to ensure you have adequate travel insurance to cover the eventuality of no travel related to border closures, government regulation changes, etc. Quark Expeditions allows for rebooking or cancellation up to 30 days before the trip for bookings made before 30th of June. More details here. Please read our Terms and conditions here.
All inclusions and exclusions are detailed in the section above but this trip is all inclusive while onboard. That means all meals, drinks, including wine or beer during dinner, lectures and scheduled activities (zodiac excursions, polar plunge and shore landings) are included in the price. Optional activities are detailed above and carry an extra cost.
We strongly recommend that you book extra activities as soon as possible because spaces are very limited and only a few passengers are able to join. Prices for activities are (where available) camping – $420 USD, kayaking program – $1,410 USD, paddling – $420 USD, stand up paddling – $420 USD
This trip offers options for single cabins, or for triple or twin cabins, which are sold on a sharing basis with 2-3 guests per room in twin bedding; we will pair you with another solo female traveler on the trip if you choose one of these cabins.
Male companions and children are allowed on this trip, since we are not chartering the boat exclusively. If you wish to travel with a friend, partner, family member, child, etc. they are absolutely welcome, and you can book using the same channels above, and they will receive the same benefits. Children above the age of 8 are welcome.
While the Expedition Leader for this departure has not yet been confirmed, half of the expedition team leaders at Quark are female so it is very possible that one would be on this trip. You can meet the team here.
We believe in sustainable and responsible travel and in the power of conservation-led tourism as a means to preserve the most fragile and vulnerable ecosystems in the world.
We have chosen a small expedition ship instead of the large cruise companies because of the minimal impact they have on the environment. In particular, we have decided to offer trips in partnership with Quark Expeditions specifically because of their commitment to Antarctica’s conservation through various initiatives.
A small ship can reach areas that are inaccessible to large cruise companies and can minimise damage to the environment. Because the Quark Expeditions designs and owns their ships, they have control over waste and pollution and can minimise it.
In addition, Quark Expeditions contributes a minimum of $500,000 USD each year through in-kind donations, Quark Expeditions funding, and funds from passenger auctions in support of key polar environmental research, community engagement and sustainable development projects such those by the South Georgia Heritage Trust, Penguin Watch, Seabird Watch, and Polar Bears International.
You can read more about Quark’s sustainability pledge and efforts here.
Weather conditions are variable, with temperatures hovering around the freezing mark. The continuous daylight warms sheltered areas so that you may find temperatures warm enough for t-shirts. However, you may encounter snow squalls, fog and white-outs, during an expedition.
Thus, we recommend packing warm clothes and a waterproof pair of trousers for zodiac excursions (mandatory). You will receive a complimentary parka to take home which is designed to keep you warm and contains two layers. You will also be able to borrow waterproof boots for landings which are to be returned at the end of the journey.
Sunscreen, hats and sunglasses are a must to protect yourself from the glaring sun and the white landscapes which reflect the sun rays.
Travel and medical insurance is mandatory to come on the trip and we recommend you get the most comprehensive coverage that includes international evacuation from Ushuaia. Travel Guard from AIG is a good place to start.
The prospect of getting sick in a foreign country is daunting, more so if that happens on a ship in a remote part of the world. Quarks ships have clinics and doctors onboard but if something that demanded medical attention happens, their full insurance would evacuate you to Ushuaia where your own travel and medical insurance would start the coverage. It is a requirement for you to have adequate coverage for treatment or evacuation from there and we recommend that you check with your insurance company ahead of time.
Among Quark’s Expedition Team is a doctor, who is responsible for the health of the guests and the Expedition Team members. Some of the ships have clinics equipped to handle minor emergencies. Quark Expeditions carries emergency supplies of medication but it is important that you bring sufficient prescribed medicines with you.
Yes, inquire at the time of booking. The prices quoted above are for payment within 30 days from confirmation but Quark offers payment plans for an additional cost.
Yes, payment can be made via credit card or bank transfer.
To access email or internet on your personal computer, tablet or smart phone, you can purchase a data PIN card from reception. You can access network spots found throughout the public spaces of the ship. In some cases, the connection will also work from your cabins; however the best connections will be from public areas.
Current prices for these optional services will be posted on board the ship. Refunds for unused voice or data cards cannot be provided. Due to the connectivity technology of the ship, your cellular devices may be able to receive a signal, connecting to networks on shore in your embarkation country. Data charges may be applied by your cellular provider, and may add up quite quickly. It is safest to turn on airplane mode and turn off data roaming unless you are trying to connect. You may still enable wifi in airplane mode.
Chefs onboard the ships are internationally trained and so is the staff. The menu changes every day. Breakfast is buffet style. Lunch often features a buffet. Dinner is plated service, with a choice of 3 main dishes. A vegetarian choice is always offered. Desserts are fabulous!
Afternoon tea, with pastries or cookies, is provided about 16:00 (4 PM) every day and there is also a selection of hot and cold snacks available in the lounge during cocktail hour, expedition activities permitting. Fresh pastries arrive warm from the oven for early birds about 06:00 (6 AM).
Yes, please provide details of your dietary requirements at the time of booking, vegetarian options are available at every meal.
This trip departs from Ushuaia, in Argentina. Most travelers do not need a visa to enter Argentina. If you do, it is your responsibility to obtain it ahead of time. There are no visa requirements to enter Antarctica and all the port and disembarkation permits will be obtained by Quark Expeditions and are included in the cost of the trip.